During the opening game on Saturday June 6 you could hear a pin drop at the Bunker. That wasn’t solely due to the riveting Toronto All-Stars game that preceded the Battle for the Boot; unexpectedly, and with the worst possible timing, the sound system at the Bunker crashed and left us in silence. After determining it could not simply be restarted, our sound crew raced out to secure a replacement board, and with minutes to spare before the big game kicked off, we were back in business.
It didn’t stay quiet in the Bunker for long.
The Gore-Gore Rollergirls jumped out to an early lead, and in the early going it was all Gores all the time, as they never trailed in the first half, and went to the break with an 89-67 lead. Every time the Betties closed the gap, the Gores would follow that up with similar points on the following jam, and it looked like a 4th Boot (which would have given the Gores the all-time lead) was in store for the team with the spots.
The second half started off much like the first, and at one point the Gores led by as much as 30 points. The crowd, however, was electric – possibly boosted by a surprise appearance at the start of the second half by retired ToRD announcer Crankypants, who exhorted the crowd to Get Louder; not that they needed the advice. Every jam had the crowd on its feet and screaming at the top of their lungs, as if to make up for the relative quiet of the earlier game. With roughly ten minutes left in the game, the Betties had brought the score to within 3 points, and a timeout was called. On the ensuing jam, the Betties took advantage of a power jam and Smoka Cola put up 18 big roller derby points for the Betties’ first lead of the game, a lead they would not relinquish. The Gores fought them all the way to the final seconds, but in the end it was the Betties who came out on top, completing their long run through the playoffs with a thrilling come-from-behind victory, 171-140, and the first-ever Boot title for the Smoke Show.
Immediately after the big game and the presentation of the Boot, continuing in the grand tradition of derby, the teams awarded MVPS to each other. Here were the big winners:
- Gores MVP blocker: Jill ‘Em All
- Gores MVP Jammer: Beaver Mansbridge
- Betties MVP Blocker: Honey Boom Boom
- Betties MVP Jammer: Smoka Cola
The Derby Nerd had his writeup of the big game here, with all the details.
Our friends from CityNews were on hand, and we present their recap here, which includes a quick post-game interview with the Betties’ titmouse and the Gores’ Santa Muerte:
As usual, the ToRD photographers were out in full force. Here are photo galleries that have come in so far (more will be added as they get posted):
Neil Gunner’s photo set may be found here.
Greg Russell’s photo set may be found here.
George Pelekis’ (aka TO Derby) photo set may be found here.
Broadcast and footage
Mr Force has his trackside footage available for viewing on Layer9.ca here. Make sure you look under “TORD 2015 videos”.
For the full experience, you’ll want to look for re-broadcasts of the Battle for the Boot (and the All-Star game that preceded it) on Rogers TV. Featuring multiple camera angles, instant replay, and play-by-play and analysis by Derby Nerd and Monichrome, Rogers TV puts on a high-level production that you don’t want to miss! The premiere airdates for the Rogers broadcasts are as follows:
Rogers Sports+ Channel 368/369 HD
Friday June 12 4:00pm (All-Star game) and 5:30pm (Battle for the Boot)
Toronto Rogers TV Channel 10/510
Saturday June 13 8:00pm (All-Star game) and 9:30pm (Battle for the Boot)
The Rogers TV broadcasts are not available online, so make sure you check your Rogers TV listings for future airdates!